Biden Admin David DeCamp Military

Biden Approves Additional $800 Million in Military Aid for Ukraine, Includes Howitzers for the First Time

The new package brings the total US military aid for Ukraine since Russia invaded to over $2.5 billion.
Image of Joe Biden talking
Joe Biden speaks at the 2019 Iowa Federation of Labor Convention hosted by the AFL-CIO at the Prairie Meadows Hotel in Altoona, Iowa. (Gage Skidmore / Flickr)

By David DeCamp / Antiwar.com Blog

On Wednesday, President Biden authorized a new $800 million weapons package for Ukraine that includes howitzers and helicopters. The announcement was made after Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who continues to plead for more arms.

The weapons package includes 18 155mm howitzers and 40,000 artillery rounds, marking the first transfer of US artillery systems to Ukraine. The Ukrainians will receive 11 Mi-17 helicopters that were originally earmarked for the now-defunct US-backed Afghan government.

The new package brings the total US military aid pledged to Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24 to over $2.5 billion. The announcement came after the US and its NATO allies agreed to start providing the Ukrainians with heavier equipment.

The weapons package also includes 500 Javelin anti-tank missiles, 300 armed Switchblade drones, 200 armored personnel carriers, 10 counter-artillery radars, and two surveillance radars. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Ukraine’s forces will need to be trained to use some of the equipment.

It’s not clear where the US training of Ukrainian forces will happen. President Biden recently said US troops would be training Ukrainian forces in Poland, but the Pentagon later downplayed the comments, saying the US was only “liaising” with Ukrainian troops while giving them weapons. 

Lithuania is a possible venue for the training as the Baltic state announcedthis week that it plans to train Ukrainian troops on its territory. The Pentagon revealed on Sunday that it has been training Ukrainian troops that were inside the US before Russia launched its invasion. 

The Ukrainian forces were taking a naval course at the Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School in Biloxi, Mississippi. After the class concluded at the end of March, the Ukrainian soldiers received some training on weapons the US has provided Ukraine, including armed Switchblade drones. According to the Pentagon, the Ukrainians are now headed back to Ukraine.

Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.

12 comments

  1. The yanks are loving this, they will pour all sorts of weapons into Ukraine,to keep it going for as long as it’s possible ,to weaken Russia , to soften it up ,the chances of invading Russia go up, the far right are becoming embolden, and were it to turn nastier the chances of WWWIII or even nuclear will go ahead ,america will their level best to prevent peace, its tragic ,really is.

    1. @Graham lewinton
      Let’s keep in mind that the sole reason for all this is Russia invading Ukraine.

      1. Quite, the invasion is a mere stepping stone with the ultimate goal being conquering the world. It’s minds like yours that enable these tragic events.

      2. The reason for all of this is the US-arranged coup that resulted in a Ukrainian civil war, and the stated intention of Zelensky to join NATO.

        Russia should have acted more forcefully after the coup, making it clear that risk of a NATO-Russia war was great and probable unless the US stopped its interference. Missile attacks on Ukrainian military facilities should have been undertaken, while its army was weak and disorganized.

        During the Vietnam war, American planes mined Haiphong Harbor and killed Soviet sailor there. Goose-Gander algorithm applies here.

        I’ll never understand why Putin spent so much time whining like a rejected schoolboy about US moves, which he should have known would be relentless if not stopped with force.

        Placing a Russian military base in Venezuela would also have been productive, and remains a possibility.

    1. I told my wife many years ago that we should put all of our cards / stock / money on the arms industry. I can only imagine how wealthy we’d be. /s

  2. Madness. Russia asked for security guarantees for all “European countries”, but NATO , an obsolete and dangerous relic of the cold War, refused. Ukraine is just an excuse, but the destruction the USA insists on, and the killing of so many people instead of agreeing to reasonable demands and having Russia as a trading partner and even collaborator in living in peace is far from the “minds” of the USA neocons who now rule the Empire of Hate and Lies.

  3. Question is, to what degree can we arm Ukranians without the Russian oligarchy deciding that the weapons provided are too advanced? I think we are moving into a much more dangerous phase here. I fully support Ukranians fighting for their independence against an invading Russian army. I support the Western countries assisting the Ukranians in every reasonable way. But I think we need to be circumspect by providing defensive weapons only. If Russia fails in its (apparently) current endeavor to secure a land bridge to Crimea, what will happen? Will a NATO country be attacked? If so, the response could usher in World War III. On the other hand, supply of reasonable weapons to Ukraine is appropriate to stop Russian aggression.

  4. @rosemerry
    Russia was living in peace and collaborating until Putin decided to invade Ukraine.
    Most European countries (28 out of 50 and 50 includes places like San Marino, Andorra, Vatican City) are members in NATO and many of the rest are either wishing to be (Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Sweden, Finland) or in broad agreement with it (Austria, Switzerland, Ireland).
    So what were really the “security guarantees” that Russia asked for?
    Russia has also agreed when it signed the 1997 NATO Russia Foundation Act that, under certain conditions, any country can join NATO ( not excluding for instance Ukraine).

    1. The Maidan coup violated this central principle:

      Proceeding from the principle that the security of all states in the Euro-Atlantic community is indivisible, NATO and Russia will work together to contribute to the establishment in Europe of common and comprehensive security based on the allegiance to shared values, commitments and norms of behaviour in the interests of all states. NATO and Russia will help to strengthen the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, including developing further its role as a primary instrument in preventive diplomacy, conflict prevention, crisis management, post-conflict rehabilitation and regional security cooperation, as well as in enhancing its operational capabilities to carry out these tasks. The OSCE, as the only pan-European security organisation, has a key role in European peace and stability. In strengthening the OSCE, NATO and Russia will cooperate to prevent any possibility of returning to a Europe of division and confrontation, or the isolation of any state.

      . . . and made the entire agreement null and void. It was the final step in the isolation of Russia.

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